CPSC no longer stands by safety of artificial turf

ATLANTA — The Consumer Product Safety Commission is no longer standing by the safety of crumb rubber used in artificial turf and playgrounds.

In 2008, the agency posted an article called: "CPSC Staff Finds Synthetic Turf Fields OK to Install, OK to Play On.  "
However, the agency appears to be re-evaluating its position.

"Chairman Elliot Kaye has deep concerns with the (2008) press release and it is not the agency's current position," Scott Wolfson, the Communications Director for the Consumer Product Safety Commission, told Channel 2's Rachel Stockman.  "What was done in 2008 was not good enough to make a claim either way as to the safety of those fields."
The federal agency is not investigating further because they don't have the resources at the present time, Wolfson said.
"You've got your kids out here playing sports, you want them to be safe and healthy but if there is stuff that's not healthy. You don't want your kids around that," said parent Marticia Woodward. "Money shouldn't be an issue when it comes to safety -- not just for our kids (but) for anybody."
Jeff Ruch, an attorney for the nonprofit organization Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, has been pushing the federal agency to further investigate the safety of tire crumb turf.
"The (turf) industry has been very active in lobbying the commission but the commission has not appeared to have taken any action to protect children," Ruch said.
Ruch's organization acquired public records which he says show the turf lobbyists' influence on federal officials.
"They are supposed to protecting the consumer not the industry and if they are letting the industry tell the commission what is in these products, what level there is for children, they aren't getting the straight story," Ruch said.
"There is no visible sign we have been influenced one way or the other," Wolfson said.
The Artificial Turf Council, located in the Atlanta area, sent Stockman a statement saying:
"The Synthetic Turf Council met with CPSC in 2008. As a result of its independent study, the CPSC issued a news release on July 30, 2008 saying that 'young children are not at risk from exposure to lead in these [synthetic turf] fields.'
"Since 2008, the STC provided the CPSC with the 50 independent, science-based studies and reports that have been published in the last 20 years. All have validated that there is no elevated human health or environmental risk from synthetic turf with crumb rubber infill.
"PEER, serving its own interests and biased agenda, chooses to ignore these persuasive studies, all of which are easily obtained from the Synthetic Turf Council website, www.syntheticturfcouncil.org."